At our last Costco trip, we picked up large packages of three different types of mushrooms. After using as much fresh mushrooms as we wanted, I planned to dehydrate the rest. I really like the mushroom salt we’d made, but wanted to have mushroom powder, without the salt, to use. The powder is an excellent flavour enhancer.
We had used a dry “gourmet mushroom blend” we’d picked up at Costco to make the salt, but it looks like they don’t carry it anymore. So I decided to just dry our own mushrooms.
I had used a coffee grinder to made the mushroom powder for the salt. The mushroom blend had some very large pieces – large enough that I cut them with scissors before I could put them in the coffee grinder. Even so, some of the thicker, more leathery pieces would jam the blade.
With that in mind, I very deliberately sliced the mushroom pieces quite thin, before laying them out on baking sheets to dry. I had enough button mushrooms to fill one sheet, while the other was filled with shitake and crimini mushrooms. The “warm” setting on our new oven is 175F, but I put it at the lowest temperature it would go: 145F. Then I left the trays in the oven overnight.
Well… they did dry very thoroughly!
This is the sheet of white button mushrooms. They had been quite crowded together, and I could barely fit all the pieces in. They are now about 1/3 – 1/2 the size before drying.
They are also thoroughly stuck to the pan.
The shitake mushrooms didn’t shrink anywhere near as much, and were easy to loosen.
These are the crimini mushrooms, which are also very stuck to the pan! I have been using a spatula to try and scrape them off. We’ll keep working at it, little by little, as we are able, throughout the day.
Well, I wanted powdered mushroom, and I’m getting powdered mushroom!
Normally when I dehydrate in the oven on pans, I like to use a cake rack to allow air circulation under whatever I’m drying. Some things are just too small for that, which is why I didn’t use any this time. I was thinking that it might have been better if I’d had a drying screen, but looking at how the pieces have adhered to the pans, I’m thinking they would have done the same to a screen. At least with a pan, I can scrape them off and still use them. If they had stuck to a screen, there probably would have been no way to get them unstuck without damaging the screen.
So in the future, I’ll know to cut crimini and white button mushrooms thicker! I know we should be able to leave them whole, or just cut them in half, but I don’t want big pieces. I’ll have to find that balance.
We’ll just have to get more mushrooms and try again.
Not that we need an excuse to get more mushrooms! 🙂